UVA Expands Degree Options for Community College Grads

The Rotunda at dusk

Virginia students have another option to pursue a four-year University of Virginia degree.

UVA’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies signed an agreement in December guaranteeing admission to its Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program for qualified associate’s degree-holders from the Virginia Community College System. The BIS, a degree completion program, is designed for working adults to complete a UVA undergraduate degree on a part-time basis through online and in-person classes, many of which are held in the evening. Students complete a business, liberal arts or individualized concentration.

Students who have completed a transferable associate’s degree from a school in the Virginia Community College System, with 45 or more credits earned from a Virginia community college with a grade-point average of 3.5 or better, will be eligible for the guaranteed admission. Those applying under the agreement must submit a letter of intent and official transcripts to Admission Services by Feb. 15. A completed online application for admission must then be submitted by May 15.

“This is a pathway for someone who has an associate’s degree, or who is working on an associate’s degree now, to be able to obtain a UVA degree,” said Jane M. Paluda, assistant dean for marketing and communications at the School of Continuing & Professional Studies.

That pathway is statewide.

“Students from all community colleges in Virginia can access the BIS program online,” said Stephen L. Levine, director of the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program. “They can complete all required BIS coursework online,” or could attend in-person classes offered at convenient sites across Virginia.

Steve Laymon, the school’s interim dean, said making the BIS more accessible to community college graduates reflects the ongoing commitment of UVA to create affordable options for Virginians. 

“As a public university, UVA has always been committed to opening doors to an undergraduate education to residents of the commonwealth,” Laymon said. “All that is different here is that BIS extends that commitment to those who can’t relocate to Charlottesville. A BIS degree is affordable and accessible from anywhere.”

The School of Continuing and Professional Studies already has a guaranteed-admission agreement for community college graduates for its Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management program. The University also has guaranteed admission agreements for its College of Arts & Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Science and School of Nursing. The commonwealth and the Virginia Community College System stress the usage of such agreements to provide a gateway to four-year colleges and universities.

Levine said the agreement, which many four-year universities offer, will keep the School of Continuing and Professional Studies competitive in this market.

“Also, we think it might attract some high-achieving students to the program,” he said.

About 75 new students enroll each year in the BIS program, which students have about seven years to complete, but Levine said the school can accommodate more. Face-to-face classes will continue to be offered in Charlottesville and Richmond, and at partnering community college campuses across the state, in addition to online classes.

“In the 21st-century workplace, working professionals need to be able to learn online and we have adapted the program accordingly,” Paluda said.

Applications are now being accepted for fall 2017.

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

Office of University Communications